Plant phylogeny and systematics are scientific disciplines that name, describe, collect, classify, identify plants (systematics or taxonomy), and investigate evolutionary history (phylogeny). An additional value of research in these disciplines is the knowledge of the distribution and adaptation of species to environmental conditions in the past and present, but also the ability to predict future changes. Humans depend on many plant species in their daily lives (food, shelter, textile fibres, paper, medicines, dyes, etc.) so it is no wonder that naming, identification, and classifications are ancient human activities. Phylogeny and systematics are not only descriptive but also experimental scientific disciplines that try to discover relationships among organisms using various data sources. In recent decades, extensive DNA sequence data and new ways of analysing data using different phylogenetic approaches and computer programs have fundamentally changed the way of research in these scientific disciplines. Through the course, students will be introduced to the phylogeny, taxonomy, distribution, ecology, and economic importance of photosynthetic organisms known as mosses, ferns, and seed plants. During this course, special attention will be paid to characteristic, endemic, endangered and economically important species of Croatian flora.
1. Recognize and compare the basic morphological and anatomical, chorological, ecological and chemical properties of the most important groups of mosses, ferns, gymnosperms and about twenty families of angiosperms.
2. Based on its morphological and anatomical properties assess which group of land plant belong a living or conserved plant material.
3. Make ones own herbarium and photo collection of the 150 most common, economically important, endemic and endangered species of the Croatian flora.
4. Apply basic determination keys in practice.
5. Analyse the correlation among morphological, anatomical and physiological characteristics of specific plant groups with the environment, climate, geography, geology, soil, plant community etc. where they grow.
6. Synthesize the knowledge of molecular biology, cytology, genetics, morphology and anatomy of plants with the theory of evolution and adopt the postulates of common origin and development of the living world.
7. Discuss the role of plants in the development of the first civilizations and their importance in everyday life.
8. Use the most important botanical databases on the Internet as sources of lifelong learning.
9. Discuss the importance of plants for life on Earth and the negative human impact on biodiversity.
10. Develop the awareness of the importance of preserving nature and living in accordance with it.
Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus)
1. Course content. Knowledge assessment and evaluation. Definition of terms botany, land plants and systematics.
2. Evolution of land plants. Most important groups, phylogenetic relationships, phylogenetic trees, basic phylogenetic terminology, monophyletic groups, differences, relatedness and similarities of algae and plants, life in water and on land, adaptations, development of stomata, cuticle, vascular system etc., different types of alternation of generations.
3. Taxonomy of land plants. Identification, classification, nomenclature. International Code of Botanical Nomenclature. How to describe new species. Determination keys. Traditional and phylogenetic classification systems. Molecular systematics. Herbaria and DNA collections.
4. Mosses: organisms with the most complex gametophyte of all land plants. Interpolation and transformation theory. Morphological and anatomical, chorological, ecological and chemical properties of subclasses Anthocerotidae, Marchantiidae, Bryidae. Sphagnum sp. the most widespread moss. Life in the most extreme climatic conditions.
5. Club mosses and horsetails The earliest land plants with dominant sporophyte. The first true vascular plants. Club moss chloroplast DNA has a different gene arrangement than all other vascular plants. Microphylls and megaphylls two ways of photosynthetic organ evolution. Basic morphological, anatomical, chorological, ecological and chemical properties of club mosses and horsetails.
6. Ferns with thin walled sporangia Basic morphological, anatomical, chorological, ecological and chemical properties of the family Polypodiaceae. Heterospory and evolution of seeds. Ferns dominated on land over 200 million years. Basic morphological, anatomical, chorological, ecological and chemical properties of water ferns.
7. Gymnosperms I . Archeopteris is the first real tree that lived on the Earth. Evolution of gymnosperms. Pteridospermae and Cordaitidae. Female gametophyte. Basic morphological and anatomical, chorological, environmental and chemical characteristics of gymnosperms.
8. Gymnosperms II. Wolemia nobilis fossil that is still alive. Cicadophytina dinosaur trees. Ephedra, Gnetum and Welwitchia are gymnosperms or angiosperms?
9. Basal angiosperms and basal dicotyledons The origin of flowering plans is an abominable mystery. Definition of the flower. The role of flower sporogenesis, gametogenesis, pollination, fertilization, embryogenesis and dispersion. Fertilization. Angiosperm Phylogenetic Group. Basic morphological, anatomical, chorological, environmental and chemical characteristics of families Amborelaceae, Nympheaceae, Magnoliaceae and Ranunculaceae.
10. Eudicots I. Basic morphological, anatomical, chorological, environmental and chemical characteristics of families Cactaceae, Rosaceae, Fagaceae, Salicaceae, Fabaceae and Brassicaceae.
11. Eudicots II. Basic morphological and anatomical, chorological, environmental and chemical characteristics of families Lamiaceae, Boraginacae, Solanaceae, Apiaceae and Asteraceae.
12. Monocots I. Basic morphological, anatomical, chorological, environmental and chemical characteristics of families Alismataceae, Arecaceae, Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Juncaceae.
13. Monocots II Basic morphological and anatomical, chorological, environmental and chemical characteristics of families Liliaceae, Iridaceae and Orchidaceae.
14. Economically important plants. Cultivation of plants was a precondition for the emergence of the first civilizations, food, medicine, clothing and footwear, building materials, furniture, fuel, horticulture, ecological importance etc.
15. Special features of the Croatian flora. Abundance, endemic plants, endangered species, protected species, the most important scientific researches of Croatian flora.
1. Reconstruction of the phylogeny of land plants using rbcL sequences of several representatives of the major groups of land plants, GenBank Database, basic phylogenetic methods and computer programs (eg. MEGA).
2. Introduction to the herbarium collection of Department of Botany (Herbarium Croaticum, ZA). Herbarium techniques and student herbarium collections. Flora Croatica database and other online botany databases.
3. Creating of simple determinantion keys. Identification of plant species using determination keys, iconographies and herbarium collections.
4. Mosses. Marchantia polymorpha L : thallus, cross section of thallus, cross section of antheridio and archegoniphore, cross section of sporogon. Funaria sp.: gametophyte and sporophyte, phylloid, stem cross section, capsule.
5. Club mosses and horstails. Sellaginela sp.: morphology and anatomy of sporophyte, heterospory and heterosporous life cycle, sporophyte domination. Equisetum arvense L.: sterile and fertile branch, articulated stem, microphylls or megaphylls, strobilus and cross section of strobilus.
6. Ferns with thinwalled sporangia. Adiantum capillus-veneris L: prothallium, antheridia, archegonia, sori on the underside of the leaf, thinwalled sporangia with annulus. Marsilea quadrifolia L.: habitus, sporocarp cross section, sori, micro and mega sporangia, heterosporous life cycle. Salvinia natans L. All.: habitus, sorophore and sorophore cross section, kuglasti nosioci sporangija, micro and mega sporangia.
7. Gymnosperms I. Ginkgo biloba L.: male flower, female flower, seed. Two lobed leaves with dichotomous venation. Pinus sp. male cone, stamen, pollen grain, female cone, ovulate scale, sterile bract, ovule, winged seed.
8. Gymnosperms II. Taxus baccata L.: polen cone, microsporangia, seed cone, seed with aril. Cycas revoluta Thumb.: pollen cone with many mikrosporophylls, macrosporophylls with red seeds. Ephedra campylopoda C.A. Mey - bisexual flower.
9. The first written exam.
10. Ranunculaceae. Eranthis hyemalis Salisb. : habitus, flower, follicle. Fagaceae. Fagus sylvatica L. - branch with male and female inflorescences, male inflorescence, female dichasium, nut. Brassicaceae. Capsella bursa pastoris L Medik.: raceme, flower, silique, cross section of silique.
11. Rosaceae. Fragaria vesca L.: habitus, flower, aggregate fruit. Malus sp.: flower, pome, pome cross section. Prunus sp.: flower, drupe, cross section of drupe. Lamiaceae. Lamium maculatum L.: habitus, dichasium, zygomorphic flower, nutlet.
12. Asteraceae. Doronicum austriacum Jacq., Centaurea montana L.: inflorescence head, peripheral zygomorphic flower, central actinomorphic flower, achene with pappus. Iridaceae. Iris palida Lam.: inflorescence, meranthium, ovary cross section, capsule.
13. Poaceae Avena barbata Pott ex Link: spikelet, flower, lemma, lodicule, three stamens with very long filaments, ovary with two feathery stigmas. Orchidaceae. Orchis sp.: habitus, flower, gynostemium, pollinarium.
14. Botanical Garden tours a final synthesis of the acquired knowledge and learning about the specifics of the Croatian flora.
15. The second written exam.
Regular attendance of lectures and exercises. During the exercises, students independently solve the problems. During the semester, students are able to pass the two tests as a substitute for the written exam in the examination period. In the examination period of time students have to pass written and oral exams.